By Mike Byker, Sports Information Director at Dordt College
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. - (Box Score)— A run late in the first half helped push the no. 5 seed Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats through to the second round of the NAIA Men’s Division II National Championship played at the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri. The Wildcats turned away Reinhardt (Ga.) 82-67 Thursday morning at Keeter Gym.
Reinhardt came back from an early deficit to take a 15-14 lead with 11:52 left in the first half. The lead was one of two advantages the Eagle held.
A six point run by Indiana Wesleyan pushed the margin to 20-15 and the Crossroads League member was clinging to a 20-19 lead after back to back baskets by Reinhardt’s Nehemiah Jones. A Jordan Weidner basket ignited a 9-0 run with 7:02 left in the half and Reinhardt didn’t score again until the 4:45 mark. The lead grew to as many as 12 before Reinhardt cut it back to 38-30 at the break.
Reinhardt, a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference, got as close as 43-36 with 16:41 left in the game but saw Indiana Wesleyan pull away to a 19 point lead, 61-42, over the next six minutes and Reinhardt was never able to make a serious run at the Wildcats before falling by 15.
Indiana Wesleyan made 28-52 shots from the field for 53.8 percent and converted 19-21 free throws. Reinhardt was 23-66 from the field and just 5-25 from the three-point line and they held a 39-37 rebounding advantage.
Indiana Wesleyan’s RJ Mahurin scored 16 and Lane Mahurin scored 14 with 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. DJ Bettinger added 11 points.
Reinhardt, making its first ever appearance in the championship field, was paced by Quinton Wood’s game high 23 points and he also had nine rebounds. Nehemiah Jones came off the bench to score 14 as Reinhardt closes its season 17-14.
Indiana Wesleyan (27-6) will play Friday at noon against Oklahoma Wesleyan in the second round of the bracket. The Wildcats are making their sixth straight appearance in the championship field and seventh overall.